Seamus McHugh RIP

Seamus McHugh Deceased ob 30.08.2012 RIP

Seamus McHugh joined UCDBC in 1962 during the brilliant Captaincy of Austin Carty.  Recruitment have been so successful that four UCD maiden VIIIs travelled to Belfast in December for a Queen’s at home in a bus driven by John Gallivan, who had a dreadful time trying to control us when the bus was stopped at 2.00 am on the way home by “B” Specials.  Later in the month Seamus McHugh and Tom Kirby won the Butler Cup with some distance to spare in a large and competitive competition.  Seamus was a primary school teacher and had become the principal of a Primary School at the age of 19.  He was then studying Arts at UCD to become a secondary teacher. He was the youngest of 10 children and had grown up in the townland of Muckross in the Glenties in West Donegal and never lost his unusually soft and musical Donegal accent.

Austin continued his great work by having 3 VIIIs in the second term.  In those days the Porter’s lodge was on the left of the entrance at Earlsfort Terrace and the UCDBC Notice Board just beside it in the most prominent position of all club notice boards.  We eagerly awaited to find out whether we were rowing with the Flippers, the Flappers or the Floppers.  As there were lectures on a Saturday morning rowing took place in the afternoon, and similarly on Sunday as everybody went to Mass in the morning, there being no evening masses at that time.    By Summer we were down to two Eights and out of them one of the best ever Maiden iVs that rowed for UCDBC emerged.  Seamus McHugh at Bow, Tom Kirby at 2, Kevin Reade at 3 and stroked by Dave Buckley.  Seamus was 27, Tom was 20, as I think was Kevin Reade and Dave Buckley was in his final year engineering.  None had ever rowed before and none were particularly “sporty”.  It would be 8 years before there would be s similarly mature Maiden Crew that would be later named the Animals.

The IV went Cork Cappoquin and Fermoy, driven by Seamus in VW Beetle and came back victorious with a clean sweep of 3 wins.  It went on to win another three races at Carlow, Athlone and Waterford.  At Carlow they were so far ahead in the final that they stopped rowing well before the finish and glided in with perfect balance to the sound of a stirring Brass Band amidst glorious sunshine and cheering spectators who had attended in great numbers.

May he have glided into Heaven to the heavenly sound of Angels as he did on that magical day in June, 1963.

James Heney

Old Collegians competing in 1963 & 1964

Some fine photos of Old Collegians competing in 1963 and 1964. Click on any of the photos below to see a lager image.


1969 Crew Reunion

Padraic O’Neill writes……………

Yes, we had a great day at Islandbridge and in Ryans and Peploes later. We got the eight on the river, paddled up and down a couple of times without losing anybody! Spouses and partners were in attendance and enjoyed the experience.

The shirts looked good!!!



Dr. Frank McKenna – an appreciation

The late Dr. Frank McKenna was laid to rest yesterday (21-02-11) after Mass in the Church of Our Lady Queen of Victories Sallynoggin which was packed to standing room. In his first year in UCD he got his colours for swimming and then moved on to rowing. He quickly made the Senior VIII and was selected to row in the World Championships in Vienna in 1938 but Hitlers acute sense of timing took priority. He was a very active supporter of UCDBC in the 60’s. I have very fond memories of sessions in the old UCDBC Boat House (newly build when Frank McKenna was rowing) in the 60s. After various dinners (mainly in the Clarence or West County) or celebrations the stalwarts of OC including Ronan Bannin, Jim Meenan, Joe Hanly, John McDermott and Frank McKenna would bring dozens of bottles of Guinness to the Boat House where the plaque erected in the memory of Dr. Arthur Cleary who funded the building of the boat house in 1929 was covered with the first available towel, before a bottle could be opened. The party was generally opened by Frank McKenna who had a very good voice singing Ach von de musica and getting everybody join the Chorus. The party would continue into the small hours with various contributions from Jim Meenan including Sweet Angelina and other ditties from the 30s before descending into more robust and racous singing. Pat O’Sullivans classical tin whistle would be called upon several times to restore musicality which Tom Kirby would follow and sometimes accompany with an off beat jazz version. It was an opportunity to mix with the then remote gods of the 1960 VIII and the remoter gods of, as it then appeared to an 18 year old, ancient UCD history such as the 1948 Olympic crew. Frank McKenna’s bright wit and intelligence made him the life and soul of the sessions and he is the main reason they remained so vivid in my memory. His passing has marked the passing of a great era in the history of UCDBC. In his own words Oiche mhaith codladh samh.

Jim Heney

(F McK) Ach von de musica.
(all) Ach von de musica.
(F McK)) Ach von spieler.
(all) Ach von spieler.
(F McK)) Ich-en-bee-en-zumba-za.
Zumba, zumba, zumba-za (four times)
Other Verses:
Vio, vio, viola,
Picco, picco, piccola